Advice for Private Sector Tenants
Dealing with problems with your rented home
No matter how well your landlord looks after the property, from time to time problems may arise.
Advice about reporting those problems
Make sure you know how to contact the landlord if there is a problem (whether with the property or with equipment in your home that was supplied by the landlord). The landlord should have provided you with guidance on what to do if problems arise and should have given you a telephone number that can used to report any problems.
What should I do first?
- You should firstly report any disrepair or other problems to your landlord as soon as possible.
- Explain the situation to your landlord
- Politely ask your landlord to explain what will happen next. Remember that the landlord is likely to have to arrange for a contractor to visit to find out what has caused the problem. The landlord is unlikely to be able to answer questions about "what is to be done" and "when will it be done" until the contractor has visited. It is not unreasonable to ask the landlord to let you know when the contractor will visit.
- Give your landlord a telephone number where you can be contacted. This would enable the landlord to keep you updated about his/her attempts to deal with the problem and will also enable the contractor to arrange a convenient appointment to visit your home.
- Allow a reasonable amount of time for the landlord to address these problems. Unless urgent, we would expect the landlord to respond within a week with a date to visit and assess the problems either directly or for a contractor.
- You should also contact your landlord in writing setting out the details of the complaint.
What should I do if the landlord refuses to deal with the problem?
If the landlord refuses to deal with the problem that you have reported or if little or no progress is being made with dealing with that problem then you should contact the Council’s Private Sector Housing Team (contact details at the foot of this page).
The Private Sector Housing Team would provide advice about how to deal with the problem. Your enquiry would be confidential and we would try to give you advice about who was responsible for dealing with the problem that you have reported. Does the responsibility for dealing with the problem rest with the landlord or the tenant? Having been given the advice you would be able to decide how to proceed.
- Do you want to have further discussions with your landlord prior to involving the Private Sector Housing Team?
- Do you want us to contact the landlord to discuss the works that need to be carried out?
- Where there are likely to be serious defects then we could visit to assess the property using the Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS)
If we contact your landlord we would firstly find out what, if any, arrangements have been made to remedy the problems on site. If the problem had been previously reported to the landlord then we would expect the landlord to have contacted contractors and to have dates arranged for the works to be carried out as a matter of priority. Any information provided about the proposed repairs would obviously be shared with you. If the problem had not been reported to the landlord we would allow them time to take steps to rectify the problem.
At this stage we would hope that the matter could be remedied without the need for formal action. However should there be serious defects and the landlord refuse to carry out repairs for which he/she is responsible or should the landlord be unreasonably slow with arranging the necessary works then the Council may be able to take enforcement action to require that the works are carried out within a prescribed period of time. This would be in accordance with our enforcement policy.
If the landlord fails to comply with the enforcement action taken by the Council then the Council may have the right to consider prosecuting the landlord and/or carrying out the works in default and recovering the costs incurred from the landlord.
I have a problem with fleas/rats/mice or other pests in my home
Depending on the circumstances the responsibility for dealing with this problem could rest with either you or your landlord. If you want further information then please contact the Private Sector Housing Team.
Are the furniture and furnishings in my home safe?
Upholstered furniture provided by the landlord in rented homes has to meet certain safety standards. You should look to see if there are permanently fixed labels on the furniture that demonstrate that the furniture will resist catching fire from a dropped cigarette or match etc.
If you cannot find any such label or require further advice then you should contact the Hampshire County Council – Trading Standards Office for further advice.
For further information, please contact:
The Private Sector Housing team
Tel 01264 368000